The Dodgers were initially in the midst of heavy trade negotiations with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier. Dozier hit 40 home runs, stole 18 bases, and had a 5.9 win season in his breakout 2016 campaign. With the Twins rebuilding and Dozier under contract through 2018, he is a great trade chip for them especially with prospect Jorge Polanco ready to takeover. Polanco is a bad shortstop but okay second baseman, so a trade of Dozier allows the Twins to move Polanco to second while also getting the prospects they would receive back for Dozier. It is a good idea to move him, but his asking price is also very high and for good reason.

Rather than pay the price, which was Jorge De Leon and another good prospect, for Dozier, the Dodgers opted to trade De Leon for Logan Forsythe straight up. As FanGraphs points out, Forsythe is basically a Dozier light. Forsythe is also under control through 2018, he can do a bit of everything just like Dozier can but not quite as well. He hits less home runs, runs a bit less, plays slightly worse defense, and is a tad older. But with a 4.0 and 2.8 win season as a regular second baseman, the Dodgers opted to pay less for a slightly worse player.

It looks like this sets the Forsythe trade sets the market for what Dozier should cost. He should either cost a better prospect than De Leon or a similar quality prospect with an additional prospect added on. For reference sake, Keith Law ranked De Leon as the game’s 73rd best prospect. He was higher on Law’s board last year, but some around the game are of the opinion that the deception that led to De Leon’s success in the minors will not be as effective in the majors. Braves lefty Sean Newcomb was ranked 81, so starting with Newcomb and adding on would be a somewhat decent starting point. I put a poll on twitter proposing Newcomb, Dustin Peterson, and Alex Jackson for Dozier that received an even 50-50 split on which team would say no. That signifies to me that it’s a reasonable concept, although I have many more Braves followers than Twins followers on twitter so the poll likely had some Braves bias attached.

If the Braves were going to make a move for Dozier, a one for one deal might make more sense. I could see Ozzie Albies being a reasonable concept for the Twins. Albies, now at second, can still play shortstop and it would allow the Twins to move Polanco over to second and slot Albies at shortstop early next season. Six years of Albies for two years of Dozier sounds like a reasonable deal, to me. The question then would be whether the Braves should make that type of a move.

The Braves competitive window is just now starting to open up. With roughly eight or nine top 100 prospects and a number of other quality arms and bats not too far off the list, we could see the Braves start to graduate some of these prospects into the majors and/or trade a number of them for quality major league assets. It would be a commitment to trying to win within the next two years if the Braves did move a player like Albies for Dozier. I see arguments on both sides for whether that would be worth it or not.

When you factor that the Braves were 30th in home runs last year, slotting Dozier into the middle of the lineup makes it look a lot more formidable than it currently does. The Braves do not want Jace Peterson to be the regular second baseman. They would rather him be a utility player, which would suit him and the team very well considering his left-handedness and positional flexibility. The only weak spots offensively for the Braves would be third base and catcher, if they traded for Dozier.

So who would they even be getting if they acquired Dozier? The 40 home runs were a career high by 12, but it did come with a big increase in hard hit rate and fly ball percentage. I would think last year was the best year Dozier will have in his career, but he has been on average a four win player since his first full season. A four win second baseman would be the type of player I would be expecting if the Braves were to trade for him, who has the upside to be what he was last year and the downside to be a league average hitter at a traditionally weak hitting position.

No second baseman has hit more home runs than Dozier since his first full season. While that often comes with low batting averages, Dozier’s power makes pitchers cautious when pitching to him and elevates his walk rate. He has posted a walk rate as high as 12.8% in the past, but is consistently around 8% which is very reasonable. His low average suppresses his on base percentage, but he should hover around a .330 on base rate with a lot of power and consistency on the base paths.

In looking at what the Braves need to be competitive, Dozier would be close to the ideal fit. The Braves weakest three positions are catcher, third base, and second base. Their weakest attribute offensively is power. And pairing a successful right-handed hitting middle infielder with Dansby Swanson could help his development.

My thought is, with the depth the Braves have in the minors I would make a move for Dozier in either of the two presented options. I would either deal Albies, who while talented has some warts (very high BABIP in the minors which may be artificially boosting his numbers), straight up for Dozier or I would put together a package around one of our starting pitchers. While the Braves would be making a push to compete a bit quicker than expected, the depth in the minor league system means they would not be “mortgaging the future” to try and compete.

  • Ryan.

    Dozier’s only signed through 2018. That’s 2 years of him compared to 6 years of every prospect we give the Twins. I would hope we can give Dozier an extension because our best window of World Series contention will be like, 2020 — where the good prospects coming up in the next 2 years won’t simply be in their first year, but in their 3rd or 4th years and well-adjusted to the Majors.

    Freddie Freeman, Travis DeMerritte, Dansby Swanson, Kevin Maitan would likely be the highlights of the infield by 2020 if we trade Albies for Dozier and don’t resign Dozier.

  • SouthernAggression

    First of all, pumped to have found this site! Mark and Ben, looking forward to reading more your thoughts, as I’ve done for quite a while now back on the old COC and TC. I now have to figure out how to change my stupid handle, which I set up a number of years ago on another site that apparently uses the same commenting format.

    I think Dozier’s team-control would be a deal-breaker for me on this. While I desperately want the Braves to add some power, I think it is virtually impossible for us to be a contender in 2017. Because of that, I wouldn’t be willing to give up either 6 years of Albies, or 6 years of one of our own potential power bats (Peterson) or potential future catchers (Jackson). I’d be more inclined to do the Newcomb deal you proposed, but I think I’d say no to either of those right now if I was calling the shots.

  • kemosabe

    You can always trade Dozier the following season, especially if Demeritte lowers his K rate (not banking on that happening).

    I see Albies as a Furcal type player. And Furcal put up some pretty memorable seasons. Probably a 3WAR player maxing out at 5/6WAR.

    Not sure I’d give Albies up for Dozier when the Braves still aren’t a playoff team.

  • Dan Uggla’s Forearm

    If we reasonably expect Dozier to be worth 8 WAR in two seasons, I think Albies would likely offer more than that in his 6 years of team control. His most recent KATOH projection is at 9.4 WAR over those 6 years, and assuming he makes the big league team this year or next, he’d be a prime extension candidate as he’d only be 26-28 at the end of that team control. To be worth 8 WAR over 6 years, Albies would only need to be about a 1.3 WAR player. To reach his KATOH projection, he’d need to average 1.5-1.6 WAR. I think most of us here could see him producing something like that as a floor.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to starting with Newcomb and adding on, though. We can more easily take a hit to our pitching depth, and there are usually guys sitting around every offseason that can be signed for cheap (Colon, Dickey) that would likely produce at a level greater than or equal to what even a top prospect would produce in a rookie season.

  • bourgeoisie scum

    I just don’t think Dozier makes us a playoff team on his own. I’d prefer we keep Albies and shore up 2b long term and on the cheap which opens up more money for solving other holes down the road when we are a competitive team.